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VOLUME 13 13

ISSUE 9

JUNE 2020

WOLF TAKES HONOR OF ALL-CA JUNIOR PLAYER OF THE YEAR

After capturing a district championship, advancing two teams to the national tournament and helping a slew of boys and girls standouts to junior and college hockey, the San Jose Jr. Sharks continue to be the premier association in Northern California for player development

SILVER KNIGHTS INVADE NEVADA AS NEWEST AHL FRANCHISE LONGTIME YOUTH HOCKEY COACH NIKULIN PASSES AWAY MORE CALIFORNIA NATIVES DECIDE ON NCAA DESTINATIONS


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FROM THE EDITOR As we return to normal life, a special ‘thank you’ from Rubber

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et’s face it – these past few months have been pretty surreal. Our daily lives have changed in one way or another due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but I believe we’ll be stronger as a whole once all of this is under control. We have all heard the term “new normal” time and time again. What that exactly means is up for individual interpretation, but what I can say is that California Rubber Magazine will be part of this community going forward. We are not going anywhere. In fact, we are already making plans for the 202021 season. With that, I’d like to personally thank our partners, Matt Mackinder advertisers and readers for all of the support during these uncertain times. Without all of you, Rubber wouldn’t be what it is today. From the bottom of my heart, thank you! Here’s to moving forward and hoping you and your family are doing well! Off to the rink! The U.S. National Team Development Program’s Under-18 Team will have a California flavor for the 2020-21 season. Garden Grove native and forward Andre Gasseau has been added to the team after a solid 2019-20 season with the Shattuck-St. Mary’s 16U team based in Faribault, Minn. In 45 games with Shattuck last season, Gasseau colected 33 goals and 29 assists for 62 points. He also skated in three games with the NTDP. During his youth hockey career, Gasseau played for the Los Angeles Jr. Kings. He comes from a hockey family as his father James and uncle Sandy are longtime coaches in California. Defensemen Aidan Hreschuk (Long Beach), also a Boston College recruit, and Ty Murchison (Corona), both of whom played for the Jr. Kings’ 2018-19 state champion 16U AAA team along with Gasseau, skated for the NTDP’s Under-17 Team this past season. Newport Beach native Zakary Karpa (Princeton recruit), San Jose product Hunter McKown (San Jose Jr. Sharks, incoming Colorado College freshman) and Roseville’s Dylan Peterson (Boston University recruit) played for the NTDP’s Under-18 Team last year. Way to go, Andre! Six players with California ties are part of the 43 players that have been invited to the 2020 World Junior Summer Showcase that will be held from July 24-Aug. 1 in Plymouth, Mich., at USA Hockey Arena. The showcase serves as an evaluation camp to assist in selecting the U.S. National Junior Team that will compete in the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, which runs Dec. 26, 2020 through Jan. 5, 2021 in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta. The half-dozen California players include Peterson, Dustin Wolf (Tustin, Jr. Kings), Jackson LaCombe (Jr. Kings graduate), Cam York (Anaheim Hills, Anaheim Jr. Ducks), Brendan Brisson (Manhattan Beach, Jr. Kings) and Ryan Johnson (Irvine, Jr. Ducks). “We’re excited to have our players and staff together,” said U.S. National Junior Team GM and assistant executive director of hockey operations at USA Hockey John Vanbiesbrouck. “While Finland, Sweden and Canada won’t be joining us as we’ve been used to in past years, this will provide a great opportunity to have our players back on the ice and begin the process in earnest of building our team for the World Junior Championship. “With the current pandemic, we’ll be doing some things differently, and that’s OK. It’s exciting to see rinks opening back up throughout the country and we’re most appreciative of the efforts of Dr. Mike Stuart from the Mayo Clinic, our chief medical and safety officer, among others, for guiding us in best practices to ensure the safest possible environment for our players and everyone involved.” Provided that restrictions applicable to ice rinks/youth hockey are lifted statewide, Tier I tryouts can start Aug. 14, Tier II tryouts Aug. 21 and A, BB, B and high school tryouts Aug. 28. Team rostering/formation at any level will not be allowed until after tryouts. Fingers crossed!

Contact Matt Mackinder at matt@rubberhockey.com 4

California Rubber Hockey Magazine

California Rubber Magazine is published by: Mackinder Media, LLC, P.O. Box 373 Goodrich, MI 48438, 10 times a year, once monthly September through May and once in the summer. Postmaster: send address changes to: P.O. Box 373 Goodrich, MI 48438 Ph. (248) 890-3944 Email: matt@rubberhockey.com Subscription Rates: $49.95 USD * Single Copy: $3.95 USD Mail subscriptions to: P.O. Box 373 Goodrich, MI 48438 Subscriptions are non-refundable REPORT AN ERROR IMMEDIATELY California Rubber Magazine will not be responsible for more than one incorrect insertion Visit our Web site at: www.CARubberHockey.com Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/californiarubber Follow us on Twitter: @CARubberHockey

California Rubber Magazine is a production of:

Publisher/editor: Matt Mackinder senior designer: Julie Rippy

CANADA TO COLLEGE

San Diego native Grady Birk (right), who played junior hockey in Saskatchewan last season, is one of many California products committing to the NCAA ranks for the 2020-21 season. For more on the latest players deciding on their futures, see Page 8. Photo/Outer Edge Imagery

ON THE COVER The San Jose Jr. Sharks’ 18U AAA team celebrates a USA Hockey Pacific District championship in March, just days before hockey seasons and national tournaments across the country were canceled due to the COVID-19 crisis. Photo/Brett Wayne Photography


CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS

CGBHockey.com UNITED STATES PREMIER HOCKEY LEAGUE

USPHL hosts strong NCDC Combine, alums win NCAA awards

By Joshua Boyd/USPHL.com

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he 2020 NCDC Combine in Dyer, Ind., wrapped up early on the evening of June 14, re-opening hockey after three months away from the ice for USPHL teams, and for most players as well. Fifteen games and several hundred playercoach conferences took place at the Midwest Training and Ice Center. There was representation by seven National Collegiate Development Conference teams at this first 2020 NCDC Combine - Utica Jr. Comets, Islanders Hockey Club, Northern Cyclones, New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, Boston Junior Bruins, Boston Advantage and Twin City Thunder. Overall, more than 35 different USPHL teams were in attendance scouting more than 200 prospects for 2020-21 and beyond, all born between the years 2000 and 2004. There was representation from all 10 of the divisions for the USPHL Premier in 2020-21, including teams from the new Western and Mountain Divisions. The league held two seminars to teach the players about the USPHL development model, from the NCDC to the Premier and beyond. The USPHL thanks all the attendees, the teams, the Combine Committee (including Combine director John Schwarz), and the host Midwest Blackbirds and the Midwest Training and Ice Center.

NCDC Detroit Combine postponed The USPHL has also announced that the 2020 NCDC Detroit Combine has been postponed by just over a month to July 30-31, but still remaining at Fraser Hockeyland in Fraser, Mich. This announcement has been made due to Michi-

USPHL hopefuls take part in the league’s recent NCDC Combine that was held at the Midwest Training and Ice Center in Dyer, Ind., from June 13-14. Photo/USPHL.com

gan state restrictions on the opening of ice rink facilities. All those registered for the NCDC Detroit Combine remain registered for the new dates. There will be guaranteed attendance by at least six NCDC teams. #COMMITTEDLEADERS With more than 1,200 former players in college

hockey in 2019-20 alone, the USPHL continues to be a leader in advancement to the next level beyond junior hockey. Not only do our players move on to the best educational institutions to continue their hockey careers, they also excel once they reach that level. Nearly 400 NCAA players from USPHL organizations past and present earned honors from their home conference and beyond during the 2019-20 season: More than 50 NCAA Division I players and close to 340 from the NCAA Division III level brought in honors, including the Sid Watson NCAA Division III Player of The Year award won by USPHL Premier alum Tom Aubrun of Norwich University. Former Hampton Roads Whalers forward Brandon Osmundson (Utica College) was recognized as the National Division III Rookie of The Year. At the NCAA Division I level, alumni of USPHL organizations also earned two scoring championships, two rookie of the year awards and one goaltender of the year award. Four alumni of the USPHL and its current member organizations also earned Hobey Baker nominations, including two who were top 10 finalists. At the NCAA Division II and III levels, players of the year in nine conferences hailed from the USPHL and its current member organizations. View the full list of USPHL and member organization alumni who captured NCAA awards at USPHL.com/NCAA-award-winners

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Teal Together The San Jose Jr. Sharks continue to be the total package of player development and team success By Matt Mackinder

Prior to the season being shut down, the Jr. Sharks had yet more success during the 2019-20 season. The biggest team accomplishment was seeing the he San Jose Jr. Sharks were set to send two teams to various 18U AAA squad capture a state and USA Hockey Pacific DisUSA Hockey national tournaments in March and April before the trict title, in addition to the girls 19U AA team winning a state COVID-19 crisis put a halt to hockey not only in the United States, but title. across the world. Individually, several players were selected in April’s WHL Did the Jr. Sharks sulk and sit back? Far from it. U.S. Prospects Draft and a handful more in May’s two-part Truth be told, the organization quickly came up with an extended USHL Draft and June’s USPHL NCDC Entry Draft. Others have offseason game plan that included video calls with players, coaches signed with junior clubs and a large number of girls players and families to keep everyone sharp for the next season – whenever from the Jr. Sharks’ 19U team have committed to college that may be. hockey programs. “I think the COVID pause has taught us Former Jr. Sharks players Brian Adams to enjoy the moment more than ever in terms and Luke Robinson also committed during of games or practices, and ultimately, we the season to play NCAA Division I hockey learned one lesson and that’s to not take anyat Air Force. Joining ACHA college teams for thing for granted,” Jr. Sharks director Curtis the fall are Jr. Sharks 18U teammates Micah Brown said. “I don’t think anybody that was Kim (Northeastern University) and Ryan on the ice, whatever their last session was Kopelman (College of William and Mary). in terms of hockey in March, thought that “I am extremely happy for all of our kids would be the last one, but here we are three advancing to the next level,” said Jr. Sharks’ months later. People are just getting back on development coordinator Mike Janda. “As the ice because of the virus, which is hopea club, we have worked hard to rebuild our fully a once-in-a-lifetime event, but it definitely boys 18U program and keep kids in San changed the way we see things.” Jose. We have at least seven kids moving on Brown added that staying in touch was to junior hockey from the team last year, three probably the best option for not being able to moving on to play ACHA club hockey and be on the ice or in the gym. five returning for another year of 18U AAA for “We’re just starting to see things open development and exposure. up around the country, but we really don’t “There is a lot to be said about staying know what to expect on the ice other than After winning a CAHA state title earlier in the season, the San Jose Jr. Sharks’ 18U AAA home and being in the comfort of your own participant numbers will be restricted along team was victorious in Tacoma, Wash., winning a Pacific District championship days before home to help you develop as a player and a COVID-19 squashed the remainder of the 2019-20 season. Photo/Brett Wayne Photography with a focus on physical distancing,” Brown human being. We hope this year is the first of said. “Like the last 90 days, I expect things to be very fluid. Once the season short many good years ahead for our players to develop and advance.” circuited, we decided a great thing would be to stay connected because it was not In the WHL U.S. Prospects Draft, forward Shaun Rios (Tri-City Americans), physically possible.” defenseman Philippe Blais-Savoie (Vancouver Giants), defenseman Briggs Orr The weekly calls with the association had (Calgary Hitmen) and forward Ben Picard special guests join the call such as former (Tri-City) were chosen along with former Jr. San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau, Sharks forward Duncan Shin (Vancouver). former Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan, Three Jr. Sharks went in the USHL Draft Sharks head coach Bob Boughner, Sharks – defenseman Garrett Brown (Sioux City assistant coach Roy Sommer, former Sharks Musketeers), forward Tyler Dysart (Sioux player and current Sharks goaltending coach City) and defenseman Aiden Celebrini Evgeni Nabokov and Sharks strength and (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders). conditioning coach Mike Potenza. Forward Reese Laubach was then tak“We could really at least provide some en by the Jersey Hitmen in the NCDC draft. options, and those were fun talks to educate On the girls side, Evelyn Andrade (St. everybody, including myself, about some Michael’s College, NCAA D-I), Jessie Argood ideas,” said Brown. “Those segments ons (Lawrence University, NCAA Division were really good. As an athlete, ultimately, III), Elise Coates (Arcadia University, NCAA there’s many things that happen throughout D-III, for 2021-22), Kenzie Fogarty (Norththe course of a game, most of which are out land College, NCAA D-III), Nicole Hillegas of your control. No different than this situa(St. Olaf College, NCAA D-III) and Cheltion. Maybe I learned this during my playing sie Wang (Smith College, ACHA) are colJust weeks before the 2019-20 season was halted, the San Jose Jr. Sharks’ 19U AA team days because I definitely encountered this captured a CAHA state championship, sweeping the Anaheim Lady Ducks over the first lege-bound. and you had no control on what you can con- weekend in February. Playing for the Jr. Sharks provided the trol, if that makes sense. You can make a difexposure and improved skills needed to play ference, and looking back, that’s probably what we did during this time.” the college game, said several of the girls. Matt Adams, the Jr. Sharks’ youth hockey manager, created numerous videos “Before I started playing with the Jr. Sharks, I had never been a part of a competithat focused on drills and offseason activities to help the association’s players main- tive travel team,” said Fogarty. “I had only participated in house league at my local rink tain thoughts of hockey during the unexpected downtime. Other house coaches and in Sacramento. When I was given the opportunity to try out for Bobby Long’s 19U student coaches also made videos that were shared with the players. team, I jumped at the chance. All my life, I had wanted to be a part of a travel team but “A few of our coaches that regularly work our JSHL practices and games would I always doubted myself and my skills. It was this opportunity that made me realize record the clips on their phones and uploaded them to a Google form we created,” my potential. said Adams. “The clips were curated and published. It was very important to us to “Not only did I grow as a hockey player, I grew as an individual. I learned how to not only keep in contact with our families, but to keep the love for hockey strong and really play as a team rather than individually. I wouldn’t be where I am right now if it alive in the kids. With no hockey on TV, no hockey rinks open, kids ordered to shelter wasn’t for Bobby Long and Danielle Kozlowski, as well as my other coaches. in place and other serious societal issues coming to the forefront of life, we wanted to do our part to continually fuel the love and passion for our game.” Continued on Page 9

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California Rubber Hockey Magazine


All-California Junior Player of the Year D

Goaltender Dustin Wolf, Everett Silvertips (WHL)

ustin Wolf is coming. If not next season, then for sure in 2021. Pro hockey, you’ve been warned. That is about all that’s left for the 2001 birth year, who was unquestionably the top junior goaltender in North America during the 2019-20 season, and as such, he is the pick as California Rubber Magazine’s All-California Junior Player of the Year. Wolf, a longtime Los Angeles Jr. King and current Everett Silvertips netminder, was selected the CHL’s Goaltender of the Year in early June after leading all major junior goalies in goals-against average (1.88), save percentage (.935) and shutouts (nine). His 34 wins were second most. The Tustin native was also honored as USA Hockey’s Dave Peterson Goaltender of the Year and WHL Goaltender of the Year. He was the first goaltender from California to win the CHL and USA Hockey awards. Wolf’s magical year began in late June of 2019, when the Calgary Flames selected him four picks from the end of the NHL Draft. He was named to the U.S. World Junior team last winter. On the heels of his dominant junior season, Calgary wasted no time signing him to a three-year, entry-level contract in May. He would have to make the Flames out of training camp later this year to begin his pro career. If he doesn’t, he’s a good bet to rewrite just about every goaltending record for the Silvertips. SPECIAL MENTION In just about any other year, either of these two players would be shoo-ins to be picked as players of the year. Their seasons were so excellent that they warrant special mention: Forward Brendan Brisson: The former Jr. King took the United States Hockey League by storm in his first full season on the circuit, winning rookie-ofthe-year honors after finishing second in scoring (59 points), first in power-play points (24) and second in points per game (1.31) by one hundredth of a point for a stacked Chicago team. A late 2001, the Michigan commit is ranked among the top 20 North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting for the 2020 NHL Draft, whenever it might take place. Goaltender Mattias Sholl: The 2000 dominated the North American Hockey League, leading it in wins (29) and games (41). The Fairbanks mainstay posted a 1.99 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage, numbers that also were in the top eight in the NAHL, which named him All-League Second Team. The longtime Jr. King is a third-generation goalie, and older brother Tomas was one of the ECHL’s top stoppers this year.

Meet the rest of the team: GOALTENDER Patrick Pugliese: The 1999 was second only to Sholl in NAHL wins (24), and he did it with a .909 save percentage for New Jersey. The Niagara commit played for several clubs (Pasadena, LA Hockey, Ontario Stars, Anaheim Wildcats), but his final five in California were with the Jr. Ducks. DEFENSEMEN Aiden Hreschuk: The Boston College commit and former Jr. King had 24 points in 49 games for the U.S. National Team Development Program’s Under-17 team. The 2003 is the youngest player on this team by 17 days. Colton Huard: A Chicago teammate of Brisson’s,

capped his junior career by scoring 40 points (21 goals) for Wenatchee (BCHL) and committing to Air Force. Joey Cassetti: The former Jr. Shark left Merrimack College and returned to Waterloo (USHL), where he had 19 points in only 22 games. He plans to return to college hockey at Miami. Clayton Cosentino: The 2000 and former Santa Clara Blackhawk had 31 points (15 goals) for Aberdeen (NAHL) and committed to Air Force. Josh Groll: A trade to Lincoln (USHL) last summer agreed with the 2001, who played for the Jr. Gulls and Jr. Ducks. The Michigan commit had 42 points in 41 games for the Stars and played in the World Jr. A Challenge with Brisson. Cooper Haar: The former LA Select, Jr. King and Jr. Duck finished his four-year junior career with a flourish. A ’99, had posted 40 points in 36 games after being traded to Aberdeen (NAHL). Committed to Canisius. Ivan Lodnia: The 1999, a 2017 second-round draft pick of the Minnesota Wild, made his final season in the Ontario Hockey League his best as the longtime KHS player had 62 points and 27 goals in just 41 games. Both numbers were among the top 50 in the Photo/Chris Mast/Everett Silvertips OHL. Daylon Mannon: A Fresno native who played for the Titans and Jr. Kings, Mannon lit up the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League to the tune of 85 points and 38 goals in 62 games for La Ronge. He also wore an “A.” Jackson Niedermayer: The 2001 returned to health after an injury wrecked his first junior season and scored 25 goals among his 51 points for Penticton of the BCHL. The longtime Jr. Duck is an Arizona State commit. Jonathan Panisa: A Jr. Ducks 2001 teammate of Niedermayer’s, the UMass commit found his groove with Springfield (NAHL), scoring 29 points in just 35 games. Casey Rhodes: The 1999, who played for the Jr. Ducks and Jr. Kings, was better than a point-per-game Photo/Dan Hickling/Hickling Images player for Jersey (NCDC). His 46 points included 35 assists. Brett Roloson: A late 2000, the former Jr. Duck amassed 42 points in 52 games for two BCHL teams. Henri Schreifels: The power forward had 25 goals among his 47 points for Victoria (BCHL). A 2000, the former Jr. Duck, Jr. King and Titan committed to RPI. Brayden Watts: The Bakersfield product, a ’99, finished his fifth season in the WHL by scoring a point per game. His 61 points included 29 goals and he was an alternate captain for Prince Albert.

the former Jr. Duck and 2000 had 14 points in 40 games. Noah Kim: The 2000 found a home with Okotoks and lit up the Alberta Junior Hockey League with 56 points in 58 games, including 14 goals. The Air Force commit and longtime Jr. King finished second in the AJHL in defenseman scoring. Aidan Metcalfe: The 2000, who played for the Jr. Kings and the Wildcats, had 23 points in 43 games for

HONORABLE MENTION There are several players who spent limited amounts of time playing for California youth organizations who had impressive seasons. Photo/NAHL Forward Tanner Kelly: The former Jr. Gulls and Jr. Ducks player is a San Diego native who relocated to the Shreveport (NAHL). Ty Murchison: Another former Jr. King, the 2003 Detroit area after Pee Wees. A Michigan State commit, he had 15 points for Muskegon (USHL) as a 17-year-old. was a lineup regular for the NTDP Forward Nick Robertson: A second-round pick by Luc Salem: The 1999 finished his junior career by finishing fifth in the NAHL in defenseman scoring (36 the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2019, Robertson was born points) for Maine. A St. Lawrence commit, he played for in Arcadia and played for Pasadena before going to Michigan. The Peterborough sniper led the OHL with 55 the Jr. Kings, Jr. Gulls, Titans and Jr. Ducks. Hunter Sansbury: A 2000, the former Jr. Ducks goals and his 86 points were 10th. Older brother Jason and Jr. Kings defender posted a career-best 24 points made his Dallas Stars debut this season. Defenseman Luke Robinson: The 2000 played a season of for Salmon Arm of the British Columbia Hockey League. Kaelan Taylor: The steady 1999, a former San 16U for the Jr. Sharks after growing up in Tennessee. Diego Jr. Gull and Jr. King who has committed to RPI, Like Taylor, he wore an “A” at Dubuque, and he will join wore an “A” for Dubuque, one of the USHL’s top teams. Kim at Air Force. FORWARDS Brian Adams: A San Jose Jr. Sharks product, Adams - Compiled by Chris Bayee CARubberHockey.com

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L.A. KINGS HIGH SCHOOL HOCKEY LEAGUE

Kern County’s Rodrigue plans for future career in QMJHL By Matt Mackinder

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mile Rodrigue was born in Quebec and learned the game of hockey in his native country. Two years ago, Rodrigue and his family moved to Bakersfield as his father Sylvain Rodrigue is one of two goalie coaches for the Edmonton Oilers, working with the club’s AHL affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors. The younger Rodrigue joined the Kern County Knights team in the LA Kings High School Hockey League and developed his game the past two seasons. Earlier this month, the talented forward was selected by his hometown Chicoutimi Saguenéens in the QMJHL Entry Draft, going in the 13th round (236th overall). Now, Rodrigue has made it a priority to play junior hockey back home. “It was an amazing feeling when the coach called me to announce I was drafted by Chicoutimi,” said Rodrigue. “For sure, it’s a goal to make the team but I still a have a lot a work to do. It’s a huge step to play there at that level. It’s faster, the players are stronger, and the skill level is very high. I hope I will have a chance to attend the team’s training camp, but nothing is sure because of COVID-19. I will know more about it in couple weeks.” Rodrigue’s older brother, Olivier, is a goalten-

der in the QMJHL, playing the past four seasons for the Drummondville Voltigeurs (2016-19) and Moncton Wildcats (2019-20). He is also a signed Edmonton prospect after getting drafted by the Oilers in the second round (62nd overall) in the 2018 NHL Draft. Kern County coach Paul Willett said he knew Rodrigue was a “pretty good player” as he played Bantam AAA prior

and any coach is going to tell you that they want to coach quality players and quality people – Emile amplifies that,” Willett said. “He never has a problem with any kind of working habits in games and in practice. He is the new-school type of play player – not overly physical but extremely smart. Skates extremely well, great pivots on both left and right sides, and has his head on a swivel.” Willett added that Rodrigue plays the game the right way, and that may translate to a successful junior career in Canada. “Emile has a team-first mentality, always has a smile on his face, always wants to be on the ice – just loves the sport,” said Willett. “He respects coaches, takes criticism the right way, and never points fingers. He Emile Rodrigue skated the past two seasons for the LAKHSHL’s Kern County Knights and was drafted has been a pleasure to coach. to arriving in Bakersfield. earlier this month by his hometown Chicoutimi Sa- I do believe he has the right character and all the right tools “I had the opportunity to guenéens in the QMJHL Entry Draft. spend two years get to know Emile on and off the ice, to one day play in the QMJHL.”

LAKLeague.com

Trio of California natives decide on NCAA commitments mobility and poise with the puck contributed to our success offensively. He was counted on in all situations and his confidence soared and he enjoyed a breakthrough season.” Pavlisin wrapped his junior career with the Kenai River Brown Bears as the Orange native ended up

“We are extremely excited to Landon and his commitment to Norwich University,” said Kenai River head uc Salem, Landon Pavlisin and Grady Birk all coach Kevin Murdock. “He was a big addition for us left California to play junior hockey with the longthis season and was a workhorse on the backend. We term goal to play college hockey. look forward to following his career as he moves into All three announced their NCAA commitments in the next level.” recent weeks, with Salem going the Division I Pavlisin played for JSerra High School and route at St. Lawrence University and Pavlisin the Jr. Ducks during his youth career. (Norwich University) and Birk (Anna Maria ColPrior to his year with Kenai River, Pavlisin lege) off to play Division III hockey. played for the BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers, SISalem played three years of junior hockJHL’s Dryden Ice Dogs and AJHL’s Camrose ey with the NAHL’s Topeka Pilots and MaryKodiaks. land Black Bears, AJHL’s Brooks Bandits and Birk, a San Diego native and Jr. Gulls alum, BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings and Alwill join Anna Maria in the fall after playing berni Valley Bulldogs. The Santa Monica native 2019-20 with the SJHL’s Melville Millionaires ended the 2019-20 season with 36 points (nine and La Ronge Ice Wolves and collecting two goals, 27 assists) in 52 games with Topeka. goals and 11 points over 37 games. He was named the NAHL’s Defenseman of “When it had come to schools, I had always the Month in December after recording nine emailed colleges showing my interest and paspoints in eight games on three goals and six assion to play,” Birk said. “I think the opportunity sists as Topeka went 6-1-1. had just come at the right time and moment and “I am proud to announce my commitment I had felt comfortable enough to pull the trigger to play Division I college hockey and further my on my school. In terms of schooling and hockey education at St. Lawrence University,” Salem with the situation that has presented itself, I’m tweeted. “I want to thank all my former coaches, very excited to not only have the opportunity for teammates, billets, and most importantly, my Orange native Landon Pavlisin parlayed a stellar season with the NAHL’s Kenai River a great education, but the opportunity to play family for their support.” Brown Bears into an NCAA opportunity with Division III powerhouse Norwich University. the sport I love as well. During his youth hockey days, Salem played Photo//NAHL “Although junior hockey is a great ride, the for the California Titans, Los Angeles Jr. Kings, Ana- facing the most shots of any NAHL netminder this mixture of school within the hockey scene appeals to heim Ducks and San Diego Jr. Gulls. past season, facing 1,373 shots in 41 games. He also me the most as you’re either in the classroom or on “Luc is an intelligent young man and hockey play- tied for the league lead in games played with 41 and the ice every day. To add to this, my major of choice, er,” said Pilots coach Simon Watson. “We are ec- was second in minutes played with 2,342. Pavlisin Sports Management, allows me to keep in the realm static for him to commit to St. Lawrence University. was third in the league in wins with 23 to go along of sports in the classroom so no matter how far He will be a nice addition to their program. Luc was with a 3.13 goals-against average and a .911 save away from the rink I am, I’m still in the same realm of a steady point producer for us all season long. His percentage. sports.” By Matt Mackinder

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California Rubber Hockey Magazine


SAN JOSE JR. SHARKS

‘It’s Deeper Than That’

With a family environment and dedication to player development, Jr. Sharks a top destination in NorCal Continued from Page 6

portunity to see him firsthand in our facility against proven junior players,” North Iowa coach Todd Sanden added. “He’s a very athletic goaltender with a high compete level. We look for Antonio to challenge for a starting job with our team.” Jovanovic is a North Vancouver, B.C., native who became enamored with the Jr. Sharks. “Joining the Jr. Sharks in my 15U season because of

Meure was a captain on the Jr. Sharks’ 18U team during the 2019-20 season. “I first wanted to play for the Jr. Sharks when my They believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself and older brother Ryan decided he wanted to play there for that, I will be forever grateful.” so naturally, I wanted to follow in his footsteps,” Meure “The Jr. Sharks program provided an inviting and said. “Playing for the Jr. Sharks was amazing not only encouraging atmosphere for me to start playing ice from the great teammates, friends and memories that hockey,” added Hillegas. “The coaches and players in I made, but the coaches in the organization are top the Jr. Sharks community helped me develop the skills I notch – guys like Mike Janda, Curtis Brown, needed to play at St. Olaf.” John Beaulieu, Evan Alexius, and the list Arons will be skating for Lawrence’s first-evgoes on.” er NCAA girls team and has played for the Jr. Boldway said the results the Jr. Sharks proSharks for more than a decade. duce on a consistent basis is due to everyone “I started playing with the Jr. Sharks when in the organization being on the same page. I was five and just finished my 12th season,” “What appealed to me about playing for Arons said. “It was great to play and connect the Jr. Sharks was the very high level of play with other girls that loved the game as much as and the accompanying number of good playI did. It has been an amazing experience, and ers and even better coaches,” said Boldway. I have made some of my best friends through “The main reason I came to the Jr. Sharks in the Sharks program. I learned and improved so the first place was the coaching style of Mike much over the years. I’m very thankful for all my Janda and his ability to develop players and get coaches and teammates who helped me get to them ready for the next level.” my dream of playing in college.” On top of the success on the ice and playCoates said the Jr. Sharks’ closeness er advancement, the San Jose City Council remakes playing the game a blast. cently approved a 200,000 square-foot expan“I wanted to join the Jr. Sharks this season sion of Solar4America Ice at San Jose, which because I wanted to play for a team where I will add two additional recreational ice sheets knew that I would learn a lot from my coaches,” to the facility, increasing the building’s total ice Coates said. “Coach (Danielle) Kozlowski and sheets to six. Coach (Liana) Bonanno both played NCAA The expansion will make Solar4America Division I hockey, so I knew that they could Longtime San Jose Jr. Sharks girls standout Jessie Arons has spent the last 12 seasons with the program and is off to play NCAA Division III hockey in the fall at Lawrence University. Ice at San Jose the largest ice facility under help me increase my skills as a goalie. I got to one roof west of the Mississippi River. play with some incredible players this season One of the additional ice sheets will be loand we were a pretty tight-knit group of players cated inside a 4,200-seat, two-story spectator by the end of the season.” arena that will serve as the new home for the Wang grew up playing on boys teams and AHL’s San Jose Barracuda, the top affiliate of noted when the opportunity arose to join the Jr. the Sharks. Sharks, she jumped at the chance. Construction for the facility is expected to “I wanted to play on a more structured begin this year with a targeted completion date and competitive team,” said Wang. “I’d mostly of August 2022. played with boys, so it was a nice change of “We are thrilled to enhance our partnership pace playing with the girls. I think playing here with the city of San Jose and add much-needgave me a stronger sense of teamwork and caed additional sheets of ice at Solar4America maraderie, as well as teaching me new ways to at San Jose,” said SAP Center and Sharks Ice approach the game.” senior vice president Jon Gustafson. “This faAs of late June, the five boys from the Pacifcility has become an incredible community asic District champs that had signed with junior set, hosting more than 1.2 million visitors each teams include defenseman Deven Boldway year. It is also an important economic engine (NCDC’s Utica Jr. Comets), defenseman Niko for our city, generating thousands of dollars Jovanovic (AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints), in transient occupancy taxes through hostforward Jake Meure (SJHL’s Battlefords ing national and international hockey and ice North Stars), forward Connor Plamondon competitions, filling nearly 6,000 hotel rooms (NA3HL’s Mid Cities Jr. Stars) and goalie Anannually.” tonio Tarantino (NA3HL’s North Iowa Bulls). At the end of the day, though, pulling toSimilar their female counterparts, the boys had positive experiences playing in San Jose. Antonio Tarantino parlayed a stellar season with the San Jose Jr. Sharks’ 18U AAA gether as an organization during the unprec“What really interested me in playing for team in 2019-20 into a spot with the North Iowa Bulls, a perennial NA3HL power- edented times is what the Jr. Sharks are all house, for the 2020-21 season. about. the Jr. Sharks was the opportunity to play AAA “With so many uncertainties today, at the onset of hockey while competing in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey my family’s work-related relocation from Vancouver to League,” said Tarantino. “Juniors and college hockey San Jose, the Jr. Sharks organization offered both the the pause, I think it just highlighted what the sport of has been a goal of mine for a long time, so playing for best team-based and individual development around,” hockey provides, and that’s more than the sport itself; the Jr. Sharks really was able to get me the exposure I said Jovanovic. “The Jr. Sharks immediately appealed to it’s bigger than the sport itself,” Brown said. “We still needed. The Jr. Sharks organization was the perfect fit me because it was simply the best program that fit my don’t know all the variables of the recovery, but we do for me because not only did the coaches make me into bill. Enabling me to cap off my minor and youth hockey know we have a great community that will get through a better hockey player but also made me a better indi- career here and to advance to the next level thanks to whatever comes our way together. the various opportunities presented to me through the “Hockey is more than a sport. It’s deeper than vidual, which is very important as we grow up.” that.” “Antonio came to Mason City and gave us the op- club is exactly why I joined.”

SJJrSharks.com CARubberHockey.com

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SJSU’s Robinson humbled with WCRHL contribution award fortunate enough to be a part of that process, and my efforts rewarded me a chance to play. “The chance to continue playing was reward enough to put efforts into founding the team at San Jose State. The project ended up returning way more than I could have hoped for, and I was lucky enough to share that with some really incredible teammates. I never would have thought that the impact of my decision would be so much that the league thanked me. I’m hugely grateful for their consideration, and hope that I can continue to be a part of their growth.”

the championship game, finishing runner-up in an eventual 8-7 setback to regular-season division he National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association champion Cal Poly Pomona. (NCRHA), the governing body of collegiate club Robinson appeared in nine games during the inline hockey in the United States, released its 2018-19 season with a 2-7 record, 4.12 GAA, .844 2020 Outstanding Contribution to Collegiate Roller save percentage and one shutout as San Jose State Hockey Award winners in May. ended its season with an opening-round playoff The annual award honors a player, coach, staff loss at the 2019 National Collegiate Roller Hockey member or other contributor from each of the seven Championships in Rochester, N.Y. member NCRHA conferences who best exemplify Robinson appeared in 14 games during the leadership qualities on and off the rink and have 2017-18 season with a 9-4 record, 3.67 GAA and made a noteworthy contribution to the a .843 save percentage as the Spartans advancement of collegiate roller hockey. finished as the top team in the Division II San Jose State University’s Jack regular-season standings. San Jose State Robinson is the recipient of the 2020 subsequently competed at the 2018 National Western Collegiate Roller Hockey League Collegiate Roller Hockey Championship in (WCRHL) award. Fargo, N.D., notching an appearance in the “Jack started his collegiate roller hockey second round of the playoffs. career at West Valley College, playing two Robinson called this year’s WCRHL finals seasons there and won the Junior College a fitting showcase. Division championship in 2017 in Fort Myers, “It was one of the more enjoyable Fla., with a 10-0 shutout win over St. Charles tournaments I’d been a part of in a while,” he Community College,” explained Brennan said. “We went in as the last seed and knew Edwards, who serves as both the NCRHA we had to perform in order to receive a bid executive director and WCRHL league to nationals, and the whole team was driven. director. “He split goaltending time at West “We didn’t eliminate all of our mistakes, but Valley but also skated out in those games I think we really showed our team’s potential when not in net. in the games against Arizona (6-3 and 5-2 “Jack then transferred to San Jose State wins over the second-seeded Wildcats). The University, where he took the lead, helped by final itself was heartbreaking, as I feel we several others, bringing the SJSU club back gave ourselves a very good chance to win from hiatus, where they have been not just offensively. competitive, but one of the most organized “After re-watching the stream a couple of teams in the WCRHL. times, I feel like we set up some really nice San Jose State University goaltender Jack Robinson backstopped the revival of “Jack opted not to play in net this season the Spartans’ program and, in the process, received the 2020 Western Colle- plays that just didn’t find their way into the in order to give more players a chance to giate Roller Hockey League Outstanding Contribution to Roller Hockey award. net. We made some pretty bad defensive play, as they had two other goaltenders come out Robinson appeared in 18 games during the mistakes that punished us, and we ended up on for the team. Also, Jack officiated the Collegiate 2019-20 season, recording eight goals and 18 the wrong side of a high-scoring, one-goal game. Roller Hockey Alumni Ironman Tournament at the points to finish fourth overall in team scoring while We were frustrated, but glad we had done what we beginning of the season, and no doubt will be part posting a 4.50 goals-against average and a .833 needed to do and that it wouldn’t be our last game.” of the WCRHL officiating crew next season.” save percentage in one game between the pipes. But it was the end following the cancellation of “I’m humbled that the league considers my efforts The Spartans put together an inspirational stretch the national championship tournament. worthy of this award,” Robinson added. “When run to cap the season by qualifying as the final team “Certainly not a good feeling, but I’m at least players from Silver Creek Sportsplex decided to for March’s WCRHL conference championship happy that the game itself was a contest with some re-start the West Valley College organization, I was tournament and then posted a meteoric rise to emotion to it,” Robinson said. By Phillip Brents

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Temecula Valley inline hockey growing in popularity T

he Temecula Valley Inline Hockey Association (TVIHA) offers three supervised programs each year. The organization’s recreation league takes place in the spring and fall. It remains popular, attracting between 175 and 210 players over the last few seasons. This number is up from 120-140 participants five years ago, according to TVIHA president Tom Bilek. The organization’s equally popular school league program takes place every winter with divisions featuring play in elementary school, middle school and high school levels. The 201920 season included 145 participants, up from 120 the previous season. Division champions included Temecula Outlaws (elementary school), Murrieta Beast (middle school) and Temecula Valley Gold (high school). The Temecula Warriors competitive travel team program (8U through 16U) has fluctuated due to ice hockey participation, though the Warriors 10

California Rubber Hockey Magazine

have carved out their share of success in tournament play. The Temecula Konixx Warriors captured the 14U AA Division at last December’s AAU Winternationals in Corona. “This particular age group has probably had the most success over the years of any Warriors team,” Bilek explained. “Last spring, we won the TORHS event in Sonora, defeating a team from Oregon and many Northern California teams.” The Warriors participated for the first time in the Winter Wars State Wars tournament Feb. 21-23 in Huntington Beach, bringing three teams. Both the 14U and 16U teams finished 4-0 in pool play. The 14U team lost in overtime in

Cade Comer earned the Most Valuable Player award after the Temecula Warriors captured the 16U A Division championship at February’s Winter Wars State Wars tournament. Photo/State Wars

the semifinals to the eventual champion Konixx Nitrous while the 16U team, led by division MVP Cade Comer, won the A division title with a 6-4 win over the Silicon Valley Quakes. Kenny Silhan tied for the overall 14U scoring lead in pool play while Kat Reyes was the top goaltender with a 1.25 GAA and .878 save percentage. Dillon Bilek topped the 16U division in pool play scoring with 10 points. “Our objective is to teach the fundamentals of inline hockey, good sportsmanship, teamwork, commitment and respect,” Tom Bilek said. - Phillip Brents


NARCh a catalyst in girls roller hockey growth in California produce some great talent,” Morrison said. Eleven nations were represented in the Junior Women’s Division in Barcelona. Spain defeated the Untied States 2-0 in the gold medal game. Canada captured the bronze medal. Both of Team USA’s losses in the international inline showcase were to Spain. Alexandria Tillemans (Bishop) and Lilie Pogu (Corona) both scored goals in the the Americans’ 6-1 semifinal win over Finland while Marisa Trevino (San Jose) posted a .957 save percentage in the championship game setback. Californians accounted for nine goals in the team’s

in large part to Emily Doran communicating with the established clubs like Militia in Huntington Beach, outh roller hockey has long been a coed sport, but Bulldogs in Corona, and her own group, the Jets in a recent uptick in participation numbers by girls West Covina, and a group from Northern California has prompted the creation of multiple gender-specific as well. divisions for female participants. “That spark helped us build momentum into the For instance, the North American Roller Hockey next year, where we ended up putting together a Championship Series (NARCh) has created a second Hi-Chew team in this Girls 14U division that separate Girls Division apart from its traditional we had made.” Women’s Division. The Hi-Chew teams excelled, winning gold medals Perhaps not surprisingly, the growth in girls roller in the Girls 14U and Women’s Gold divisions at last hockey mimics the growth in girls ice hockey. The two year’s NARCh West Coast Finals. sports form a mutual symbiosis that has resulted in a “This year, we were planning on building on all win-win situation for both. of that momentum, creating two “With regard to the growth of new divisions to allow for even girls playing roller hockey, I would more girls to play -- a 12U girls attribute it to a combination of the division and an 18U girls division,” ‘ice hockey’ player transitioning to Morrison noted. “In addition, play roller hockey in the summer the Women’s Division, which in combination with the rinks in previously allowed 14-year-olds California developing programs to play, is now 16 and up since to start female players at a young the number of players interested age in the sport,” explained Alex has increased to the point that we Morrison, who started the San could spotlight these girls in their Diego Jr. Gulls girls ice hockey own group.” program and now serves as Morrison said the rollerhead coach for the United States oriented Hi-Chew program is National Junior Women’s Inline looking at fielding two teams in Hockey Team. the 18U division and one team in “The line that people may the 12U division this season. want to draw defining someone Morrison said playing ice as an ‘ice’ or ‘roller’ player is hockey and roller hockey is a twogetting more and more blurry way street. as this progress continues, as “There are a lot of girls in many girls are developing in both California who were introduced sports concurrently, often playing to hockey on the roller side and roller hockey all summer after ice moved over to ice hockey after a hockey season in the winter – and short time,” Morrison said. “What sometimes back and forth during Hi-Chew captured the Girls 14U Division gold medal at last year’s NARCh West Coast Finals. Photo/NARCh I have been trying to do is to build the same season.” awareness in the community that With the increase in numbers, there has been a five games. these athletes can actually improve their skills in their corresponding increase in the quality of play. The NARCh Finals has definitely been a catalyst in ice hockey game and avoid burnout by enjoying roller Team USA finished with the silver medal at last the growth in girls inline hockey. hockey during the offseason. summer’s World Roller Games in Barcelona driven “Two years ago, I approached (NARCh president) “Having time and space to build their puck primarily by a cast from the Golden State and its Daryn Goodwin about having a Girls 14U division possession skills and vision will help take their game neighbors (eight of the 15 rostered players were from at NARCh, as I had a core group of girls (ice hockey to the next level, and the time spent away from the ice California, Nevada and Arizona). players) who I was introducing to the sport, along with rink playing a different sport helps a player in coming “The Californians on the team all contributed a couple girls who had played for years,” Morrison back for the next season refreshed and renewed, during the tournament and showed people all over the said. “This team (Hi-Chew) played at the NARCh ready to take on the challenges that lie ahead.” world that the West Coast of the United States can Finals in 2018 along with teams put together thanks

By Phillip Brents

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Bringing back NARCh Girls Division a boon for California

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ost large domestic national championship inline hockey tournaments now feature a women’s division. An increasing number of these tournaments also are starting to feature divisions for younger females as well. “A few years ago, we brought back the Girls Division and it’s been a hit,” NARCh president Daryn Goodwin said. “While most girls are used to playing with and against the boys, it’s nice for them to have the opportunity to play against other girls.” Last year’s NARCh West Coast Finals featured four teams in the Girls Division and nine teams in the Women’s Division, which was subsequently broken down into Platinum and Gold divisions for playoff awards. Bella Mardesch finished as the Girls Division high scorer with seven goals for gold medalist HiChew while Kiera Tallas received the top goaltender

award with a 0.870 save percentage for third place Hi-Chew aNARChy. Emma Tasevski earned MVP honors of the championship game as Hi-Chew defeated the Pama Labeda Golden Knights by a score of 2-1. The Hi-Chew Vets defeated Mavin, 5-1, to win the Women’s Gold Division. The Hi-Chew Vets swept the individual awards as Blake Bolden collected seven goals and four assists to win the high scorer award and Maya Tesevski posted a .877 save percentage to capture the top goaltender award. In the skills competition, Hi-Chew’s Lexy Ace won the fastest skater award while Hi-Chew aNARCHy’s Miranda Minucci took home the sniper award. Hi-

Chew’s Ella Park won the top goaltender award. Ace (Bend, Ore.) and Park (Encinitas) were members of the Team USA National Junior Women’s Inline Hockey Team that had participated in last summer’s World Roller Games in Spain. “It seems that at the younger ages, we have more and more girls getting into the sport, so we feel it’s time to modify our age groups and give more girls a competitive environment,” Goodwin said. “These should be positive changes that will encourage more female hockey players an opportunity to participate and have fun playing NARCh.” - Phillip Brents CARubberHockey.com

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ANAHEIM DUCKS

Great Park Ice converts to food bank storage facility By Anaheim Ducks Staff

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lthough the doors to THE RINKS facilities and Great Park Ice have been closed since March 12 does not mean they have stopped impacting their community in a positive way. Instead of lacing up skates on new youth and adult players, they have focused on how to help the Southern California community off the ice. The Irvine Ice Foundation announced on April 23 that Great Park Ice, one of the largest ice facilities in the nation and also the practice venue for the Anaheim Ducks, had been converted to a temporary food bank food storage facility for Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County. For the last four months, Second Harvest Food Bank has been at the forefront of the pandemic by serving Orange County families most economically impacted by COVID-19 in a drive-thru food distribution event at Honda Center. Since the first pop-up drive-thru on Mar. 21, Second Harvest has distributed food to more than 60,000 cars and households on Saturday mornings at Honda Center. “Great Park Ice is a tremendous community partner, and we are so pleased to be working together to serve those in need in Orange County,” said Sec-

ond Harvest chief operating officer Jerry Creekpaum. “We are very fortunate to use this facility as a staging area with it being only five minutes from Second Harvest’s distribution center.” Load-in for over hundreds of pallets of food and relief water began with approximately six truckloads of supplies will initially arrive at Great Park Ice and be prepared

for staging on Day 1. Since then, many more truckloads kept coming to the facility adding to the piles of food that were being stored on the surface that once use to be Rink 2. In accordance with the order issued from the Orange County Health Officer, Great Park Ice has remained closed since Mar. 18 and will reopen when deemed safe by health officials.

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California Rubber Hockey Magazine

“Irvine Ice Foundation is proud to partner with Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County as we continue to navigate through this pandemic,” said THE RINKS vice president Art Trottier. “There are many layers to the food bank’s distribution operation, and this was one clear way we could support Second Harvest during this unprecedented time.” About Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County is leading the fight to end hunger for the ever-increasing number of men, women and children at risk of hunger in our community. Last year, the nonprofit provided enough food for a record 26.5 million meals for those in need of food assistance. More than 90 cents of every dollar spent goes toward programs to feed the hungry in partnership with our network of community and program partners. Second Harvest is a member of Feeding America, a national hunger relief organization. For more information and to get involved, visit FeedOC.org.


ANAHEIM JR. DUCKS Junior hockey clubs draft 18 current, former Jr. Ducks players By Chris Bayee

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uffice to say North American junior hockey leagues are well aware of the Anaheim Jr. Ducks. Nine players with ties to the Jr. Ducks were selected in the USHL’s Phase I and II drafts on May 4-5. Previously, another nine players were taken in separate WHL and NA3HL drafts. The USHL total is the most the club has had taken in one year by the circuit. Since 2015, USHL teams have picked 28 Jr. Ducks. “These kids who get drafted all share many of the same characteristics,” said Jr. Ducks director of player personnel Alex Kim. “All of them are respectful, all of them have good work ethics and good character. All of them are good teammates and good people.” The Jr. Ducks had three 2004 birth year players selected in the Phase I draft on May 4 – forwards James Hong and Merril Steenari and defenseman Brodrick Williams. Hong was selected in the third round (43rd overall) by Waterloo, Steenari went to Sioux Falls in the seventh round (97th overall), and Williams was taken by Fargo in the 10th and final round (147th overall). Six more former Jr. Ducks were selected in the Phase II draft on May 5. Goaltender Owen Millward went in the seventh round (97th overall) to Tri-City. Forward Sam Deckhut, a St. Lawrence commit, was picked by Sioux City in the eighth round (109th overall). Forward Garrett Wright was taken by Omaha later in the eighth round (118th overall). Forward Brett Roloson went to Sioux City in the 12th round (169th overall), Jason Stefanek, was picked in the 15th round (218thoverall) by Youngstown, and goalie Tyler Shea was selected eight picks later (226th overall) by Dubuque. Former Jr. Ducks forward Christian Kim was selected by the Vancouver Giants in the WHL Bantam Draft on April 22, going in the seventh round (135th overall).

JrDucks.com

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www.caha.com Arcadia native Robertson wins CHL, OHL honors for 2019-20

USPHL’s Mullets look to California for recent player signings

By Matt Mackinder

By Matt Mackinder

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ick Robertson grew up in Arcadia and played youth hockey in Pasadena before his family moved to the Detroit area. After completing his third season with the OHL’s Peterborough Petes in 2019-20, Robertson collected three awards from the OHL and CHL – the William Hanley Trophy award winner as the OHL’s Most Sportsmanlike Player, the CHL’s Sportsman of the Year, and a spot on the OHL’s First All-Star Team. Robertson led the OHL with 55 goals in just 46 games and added 31 assists for a total of 86 points. He registered a plus-29 rating along with 40 penalty minutes and went on a 14-game goal-scoring streak from Jan. 9-Feb. 8. Robertson was held without a goal just nine times over the course of the season, scoring a pair of hat tricks while recording two different five-point performances along the way. Robertson follows in the footsteps of older brother Jason, who led the CHL in scoring with 117 points as a member of the Niagara IceDogs during the 2018-19 season. “I really appreciate being recognized as the OHL’s Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year and CHL Sportsman of the Year,” said Robertson, the Petes’ first-round pick (16th overall) in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection. “I’d like to thank my general manager Mike Oke, head coach Rob Wilson, the Petes staff, and my teammates. I’d also like to thank Petes fans – you all made the PMC an electrifying building, got us excited and motivated to win and, win or lose, you were always there to support us.” He was also widely recognized in the 2019-20 OHL Coaches Poll, finishing in six different categories including the Eastern Conference’s Most Dangerous in the Goal Area and Best Shot. He represented the United States in the 2020 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship and was a second-round selection (53rd overall) of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2019. Robertson could make his NHL debut this season when the league returns to play. 14

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ot only do the Minnesota Mullets have perhaps the best team name in the USPHL, but the club has also taken note of the talent coming out of California, signing a pair of players with Golden State ties for the 2020-21 season. Forward Scott Manhart and defenseman Ethan Saldanha will head to Minnesota this fall with their eyes on developing their games to further advance up the hockey ladder. “Our location has been a big part of our success moving guys on to the NCAA,” Mullets coach-GM Chris Walby said. “Logistically, Minneapolis is a prime location for Division I and Division III schools to scout and attend our games.” Manhart is a 2003-born Corona native who has played with the Anaheim Jr. Ducks, Orange County Hockey Club and Empire Hockey Club, as well as high school hockey with the Corona Norco Stingrays. “The biggest factor in signing with the Mullets was the competition of the USPHL,” Manhart said. “I know I will have to work extra hard, but I look forward to the challenge and the opportunity to further develop and take my game to the next level. “Playing in the ‘state of hockey’ is an absolute dream come true. I am also happy that I have family in Minnesota and look forward to spending time with them.” Manhart said playing for the Jr. Ducks and coach Alex Vasilevski last season helped him earn the shot with the Mullets. Saldanha, a Tualatin, Ore., native, played two years for St. Mary’s High School in Stockton, graduating this year. “The Mullets showed immediate interest,” the 2002-born Saldanha said. “They were the ones who reached out to me instead of me advertising myself to them. After a phone call with Coach Walby, we really felt confident in the Mullets program and that this would be a good place for me to develop as a junior player. “I am really excited for this year and what is to come.” Saldanha wanted to recognize St. Mary’s coaches Derek Eisler and Zac Lytle for his development.


NEVADA REPORT

New Silver Knights join AHL, will call Henderson home By Matt Mackinder

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he end of May signaled the beginning of a long wait regarding the new AHL team in Nevada. On May 28, the Henderson Silver Knights officially joined the league and became the top affiliate for the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. Black Knight Sports and Entertainment, LLC, which also owns and operates the Golden Knights, purchased an AHL membership in February, moving the San Antonio Rampage to Henderson. “Today is a momentous day for our organization, the city of Henderson and the entire Southern Nevada community,” said Silver Knights and Golden Knights owner Bill Foley. “After years of planning and preparation, we finally get to welcome the Henderson Silver Knights home. When we started our initial ticket drive to bring hockey to Vegas and create the team we now know as the Golden Knights, it was obvious this community had all the makings of a great hockey city. That being said, the passion and enthusiasm our fans have shown us over the past three years is greater than anything we could have imagined. “Now our fans can watch more hockey right in their backyard and keep a close eye on our players’ journeys as they advance through our ranks with the intention of achieving the ultimate goal – becoming a Vegas Golden Knight. The Silver Knights will play their home games during the 2020-21 season at the Orleans Arena, located at the Orleans Hotel and Casino. On May 19, the city of Henderson approved a project agreement with SK Arena, an affiliate of the Golden

Knights, to advance the design and construction of an indoor event venue to replace the Henderson Pavilion. The reimagination of the Henderson Pavilion will serve as the permanent home of the Silver Knights once construction is completed. The Silver Knights’ logo has a unique look and very interesting background. In medieval civilization, the armored warhorse was synonymous with strength, endurance and fearlessness during battle. The armored warhorse helped establish knights as the undisputed epitome of the warrior class. The knight on horseback is one of the

most intimidating symbols of its time. A truly fearsome opponent, the knight on horseback embraced the mentality of always advancing and never retreating. The horse played a vital role in a knight’s quest to become elite, assisting in the knight’s training, skill advancement and overall development. As the primary affiliate of the Golden Knights, the Silver Knights hold

an identical position – assisting in every aspect of the knight’s quest to become an elite warrior. If you look closely, one will see that the horse’s armor in the primary logo creates the letter “H” for Henderson, signifying the franchise will be the first pro sports team to call Henderson home. The golden eyes pay homage to the parent club in Vegas. The eyes of the Silver Knights are always focused on advancing to the level of the Golden Knights. There are 20 links of chainmail and 21 rivets on the horse’s armor, which represent the team’s inaugural 2020-21 season. Flanking the Silver Knights wordmark are silver and golden spurs. The spur was gifted to the knight when he gained knighthood and was used to drive the warhorse forward into battle. “The Henderson Silver Knights will embrace these noble qualities on and off the ice and positively represent the Henderson community,” said Foley. Known as the Silver State, Nevada is home to the largest wild horse population in the United States. Both of these facts are referenced on the back of the state quarter. “The enthusiastic response from local residents over the last six weeks has been remarkable, as we have received more than 7,600 season ticket deposits at the time of our unveil event,” said Foley. “We are committed to creating memorable, positive experiences for our fans and their families. “We cannot wait to drop the puck.”

California product David garners Nikulin’s passing leaves huge void USHL Coach of the Year honors in California youth hockey scene By Matt Mackinder

By Brian McDonough

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fter coaching the Dubuque Fighting Saints to their second highest winning percentage in the Tier I era, Oliver David has been named the USHL Coach of the Year. David led the Fighting Saints to a 33-13-2 record and the team was just a few games away from clinching a third playoff berth in three seasons with the California native at the helm. “Receiving this recognition supports some time-tested truisms, stuff I got to see and feel everyday this season,” said David. “Quite simply, we had difference makers behind the bench, in the locker room, and on the ice at every position. Our assistant coaches Evan Dixon and Justin Hale were tremendously supportive, helpful and competent, and most importantly, believed wholeheartedly in the work we did. “Furthermore, the player leadership we had from Aidan Fulp, (Oceanside native) Kaelan Taylor, (Dublin native) Luke Robinson and Riese Gaber proved to me what an impact peer to peer learning and support can mean to a team. Coupled together, these positive contributions day to day from staff and our player-leaders cannot be overstated. It was the best I’ve seen in my decade-plus of coaching junior hockey. “Thanks to those that saw something in our efforts worthy of voting for. By recognizing us with this award – without knowing it directly – this is what has been exposed.” David is one of very few American coaches to have coached in three top junior leagues – the USHL, NAHL and WHL. He won a USA Hockey national championship as an assistant coach with the California Wave Bantam AAA team in 2006. “I’m just so proud of ‘OD,’” said Dubuque GM Kalle Larsson. “Having him coach our team is a privilege, and there is no one better at developing players and young men than him.” David set a career high in wins and winning percentage this year. Dubuque was top-five in most major categories and finished the season behind only the Chicago Steel in the USHL standings.

ongtime California youth hockey coach Igor Nikulin passed away on April 27 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. Nikulin was an influential coaching force in Southern California since his arrival in 1996, leading Los Angeles Jr. Kings teams to three USA Hockey national championships, including the state’s first-ever Tier I title in 2000 at the Pee Wee level. A native of Kiev, Ukraine, Nikulin began his local coaching career with the Burbank Golden Bears. Since 1998, he coached within the Jr. Kings and LA Hockey Club/LA Selects programs where he led his teams to a number of Southern California Amateur Hockey Association, California Amateur Hockey Association and Pacific District championships. Growing up, Nikulin played for the elite Hockey Club Sokil Kyiv in his hometown before joining a top league in Slovakia. After his playing days, he Igor Nikulin went on to earn bachelor’s degrees in teaching and coaching from the University of Physical Education and High Coaching School, respectively. Nikulin, who led the prestigious California Brick tournament team for 17 years, also guided California all-star teams to International B division championships at the famed Quebec International Pee Wee Tournament in 1997 and 1999. He is survived by his wife, Irina Nikulina of Beverly Hills; daughter Olga Nikulina of Los Angeles; and brothers Evgeny and Oleg of Kiev, Ukraine. CARubberHockey.com

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FROM THE TRAINER’S ROOM

How to limit injuries when returning to your fields of play By Chris Phillips

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fter spending time away from organized activities, there will be an understood eagerness to quickly return to previous levels of practice and competition. That being said, young athletes and performers are best protected by realizing that starting with too Chris Phillips many or too intense of practices, too, can be a recipe for bone and soft tissue overload injuries that will quickly put athletes right back out of play for long periods of time. Coaches and parents can best serve their young athletes by promoting gradual returns to activity rather than rushing and pushing kids back to “where we were.” No online workout, individual training session, or home workout can match the speed, timing, and conditioning demands of sport-specific activities. It is best to expect that all returning participants will be at some level of deconditioning – some more than others. Overload and overuse injuries come from either too much acute stress on normal bones, joints and muscles, or normal stresses on weaker bones, joints and muscles. Athletes who have been inactive for a longer period of time and immediately amp up activity may suffer from both conditions. In general, this process may take several weeks. Remember, we get in shape to play sports, not play sports to get in shape. A sensible recovery and rebuilding preparation plan includes: • Starting with reviewing individual skills and techniques. Not only are athletes deconditioned, but some of them might actually have grown over the past several months. Growth periods and time away from activity are big contributors to young athletes losing technique skills. Go back to basics. Start with simple drills that would have been performed years ago. • Reviewing jumping, landing and cutting movements. The issue with this is parents, coaches and players often times are unfamiliar with the most effective techniques. In this case, it may be best to utilize a professional who understands and can teach these mechanics. • Keeping initial practices shorter. Young athletes will fatigue quicker, and fatigued athletes get injured. • Limiting repeats of repetitive movements like volleyball hitting reps, throwing, swinging, or leaping/jumping. • Plan for at least one day off between practices. There is no logical role for double day or backto-back daily sessions. Bones and muscles need

time plan cally also

for repair. Coaches and parents need to accordingly since club practices are typi2-4 days a week on top of many athletes doing private lessons. The athletes’ body

needs more time to recover in these important first few weeks. • Let’s not forget the mental game. Some young athletes may not want to quickly come back or

at all. Give kids a voice to play an active role in deciding when and how fast they return. • As players return to their sport, parents and athletes may want to consider engaging a professional to help get back into game shape, improve strength and reduce the risk of injury. Now, even in the most thoughtful and well-intentioned situations, young athletes are going to have pain and soreness as they resume activities. Some of this might be “normal and anticipated,” while some may not. When should a parent, athlete or coach get more worried? • If there is finger-tip pain. • If you can use the tip of your finger to point out a location of pain, there is a higher chance for a significant bone injury, ligament sprain or muscle tear/strain. Also see www.activekidmd.com/ bone-stress-injuries • If there is any lack of joint motion, especially in school-aged athletes. • For example, a thrower being unable to fully straighten an elbow can be a sign of damage to growth plates or within a joint. • If there is a sudden onset of pain and limited motion after throwing, landing, or changing direction. Hearing or feeling a pop sensation is even more worrisome. • If there is any limping or change in walking or running technique. • If the athlete is constantly thinking about an uncomfortable body part (i.e. having to limit cutting or turning since my foot hurts). • If there is obvious bruising or joint swelling. • When there is a need for medication (Ibuprofen, Naprosyn, Acetaminophen or similar products) either right before or after practice. • When there is soreness or pain during or after exercise. In this case, ask athletes to rate soreness and pain on a 0-10 scale. A rating of 0-3 during and right after practice is one thing, but any score 4 or higher is a more of a concern. Soreness and pain should be gone by the next morning. • When there is any pain or soreness while at rest. For example, when being awakened at night leading to poor sleep, just sitting, resting, or lying down watching Netflix, or when the same pain does not go away after 2-3 days. • If the athlete has pain, even muscle soreness, they should avoid going back to practice as it may lead to injury. There should be no hesitation to have an athlete see a sports medicine specialist such as a physician, athletic trainer or physical therapist for any concern. Pushing through pain, soreness, swelling or limited motion may lead to more serious damage and a longer recovery process.

Dr. Chris Koutures is a dual board-certified pediatric and sports medicine specialist who practices at ActiveKidMD in Anaheim Hills. He is a team physician for USA Volleyball (including participating in the 2008 Beijing Olympics), the U.S. Figure Skating Sports Medicine Network, Cal State Fullerton Intercollegiate Athletics, Chapman University Dance Department, and Orange Lutheran High School. Dr. Koutures offers a comprehensive blend of general pediatric and sport medicine care with an individualized approach to each patient and family. For more information, visit www.activekidmd.com or follow Dr. Koutures on Twitter @dockoutures. Chris Phillips is an athletic trainer, strength and conditioning specialist and sports safety specialist with over 25 years’ experience in professional hockey, football, dance, cheerleading, and soccer. Chris has worked with hundreds of professional, Olympic and Hall of Fame athletes and is the owner of Compete Sports Performance and Rehab in Lake Forest. For more information, visit www.competesportsperformance.com or follow Chris on Twitter @chriscompete.

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ETHAN WOLTHERS

Position: Forward, Wenatchee Wild (BCHL) Hometown: Valencia Age: 18 (turns 19 on July 19) California Youth Teams: Anaheim Jr. Ducks, LA Jr. Kings, West Ranch High California Rubber: What’s your favorite hockey memory growing up? Ethan Wolthers: My favorite hockey memory growing up was being able to play in the Quebec Pee Wee tournament. Playing in that tournament will be a memory I will never forget. I mounted a GoPro on my helmet for the warmups in Le Colisee. It was so amazing. CR: What’s your favorite memory in the game since leaving California? EW: Definitely scoring my first junior goal (for Cedar Rapids in the USHL in 2018-19). We were up 2-0 in Chicago our third game of the year and I hadn’t scored a point yet. They pulled the goalie with two minutes left in the game and my coach put me out there. I was a young guy out in a key possession, and I couldn’t mess this shift up. I got the puck deep in our defensive zone and instead of chipping the puck out I just shot it from inside our zone on net. I ended up scoring, and I felt like so much weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Just funny because my first junior goal was an empty netter. CR: Who have been the biggest influences on you, on and off the ice? EW: Aside from my parents (Monica and Marcel), my biggest influences have to be Ron Johnson, my skills coach in Vancouver, and my previous coaches Scott Niedermayer, Craig Johnson and Alex Kim. I have learned so much from these coaches and they have really furthered my hockey career and myself as a person. Off the ice has been my brother Nic and my strength trainer Dave Eastham who trains tons of professional athletes, including NHL players Kevan Miller and Shane Harper. CR: What’s the best piece of advice you have for young hockey players? EW: Never stop working. Everyone will doubt you and say you don’t have what it takes, but you get out what you put in. Give it your all, all the time. I’ve never been given anything; I’ve had to work for everything. Living by this will only further my career and my future. CR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play? EW: While my passion now is ice hockey, growing up, I raced BMX bikes. I was a three-time individual world champion and three-time Team USA world champion. Now, during the offseason, I really like to mountain bike long trails and through the mountains. I have come to realize that riding bikes is what made me what I am today, so getting back on a bike and getting in a hard workout kind of brings me back to my roots and how I grew up. CR: Do you have any superstitions? EW: I know lots of guys have some real funny superstitions, like wearing old underwear or making sure they eat the same meals before a game. I don’t have any real superstitions, just routines I like to follow. I like to meditate and listen to calming music to ease my mind and body before playing. CR: What are some essential items you take on a road trip? EW: Playing in Wenatchee, we frequently have long road trips to deep into Canada. I have to make sure I have the proper gear for trips like that. Our bus is pretty cool. It used to be a country tour bus, so it’s meant for comfort on long road trips with lots of room inside. I always make sure I bring AirPods, my neck pillow (can’t leave without it), gum, computer, protein bars, beef jerky, and can’t forget water. CR: Did you have a favorite hockey player growing up? EW: My favorite player is Bobby Ryan. He came through the Jr. Kings organization just like I did and then played for the Ducks in the NHL. He had a challenging path to the NHL, and I admire the success he has achieved. Photo/Russ Alman/Digital Media Northwest

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- Compiled by Matt Mackinder


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